Willamette Valley/Metro - Although there is some effort for sturgeon in the Portland to Longview stretch, catch is slow and will likely remain that way. Success rates may change when pilot runs of smelt come in the mainstem; that should be any week now.
Bonneville Pool anglers are catching fair numbers of sturgeon, including keepers in this reach. Eighteen legals and over 200 shakers were reported for 25 boats over the weekend. This can be a peak fishing period for anglers working this reservoir right now.
Water flow at Willamette Falls has moderated with the clarity improving and the temperature dropping into the low 40s. Winter steelhead are on the move with the YTD count about 1,000. No word yet on the sturgeon retention season for 2012 but it's likely to be short and occur during the month of February.
McKenzie levels continue to benefit from rain late last month. It will be in good shape and gradually dropping for the weekend. Be aware that in the 2012 regulations, bait is prohibited for steelhead or salmon until April 28th.
North Santiam flows remain above the seasonal norm but are forecast to drop and clear over the next week or so. Steelhead won't be moving until the water warms somewhat.
As the waters of the Clackamas River clear. the best chance for a winter steelhead hookup will become first and last light. Overall, results have been slow.
Drift fishing is accounting for some winter steelhead catches on the Sandy this week with corkies and yarn effective recently. Expect to see some changes in the river from the recent high water. Broodstock fish should show with more regularity later this month.
Northwest – Steelheaders fared better than expected on many north coast streams this week. Following the big rain, most systems have been without precipitation for several days and are getting low and clearing. The larger systems such as the Wilson and Nestucca are producing fair to good catches with great catches reported on Tuesday. Levels are getting low enough for plug pullers to take advantage of concentrated numbers but side-drifters are still getting fair numbers too. Broodstock fish are clearly present on the Wilson while the Nestucca is rumored to be giving up mostly wild fish for catch and release purposes.
Smaller streams like the Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem remain viable options for bank anglers but boaters will have a more challenging time as flows continue to drop. The North Fork Nehalem hatchery is still reporting high pressure but good catches, especially from the disabled fishing platform. Early mornings will be a key time for anglers to take advantage of eager biters. Three Rivers near Cloverdale will also produce good catches for at least the next week although hatchery workers are already spawning adult steelhead.
With no rain in sight, the mainstem Nehalem should come into shape by the weekend. Although still weeks away from peak season, there should be fishable numbers of steelhead available in all reaches. Big, bright lures and baits are encouraged.
Sturgeon fishing should be an option for Tillamook anglers beginning Saturday with the west channel likely to produce the best results.
The ocean may lay down for offshore anglers this weekend with crab and bottomfish a fair option. Don't have high expectations for crab however, the commercial catch appears to be down so far this season.
Southwest – Commercial charters were able to get out over the past weekend to experience excellent fishing for rockfish although lingcod catches were only fair. Ocean crabbing has been slow to fair.
Winchester Bay crabbing is once again productive following the freshet in late December.
Crabbing has rebounded at Coos Bay with the salinity level returning to normal. Both boat and dock crabbers are catching good-quality Dungeness. Steelheading on the Coos River has been fair but is slowing.
Coquille River winter steelhead catches were great following the freshet but the action is cooling as the water drops and clears.
Winter steelheading has been good on the lower Rogue as the water levels gradually drop. Results on the middle Rogue for winter steelhead have been slow to fair but results will improve in the weeks to come. Upper Rogue steelheading is fair but winding down as summer steelhead spawning season approaches.
Water is dropping and clearing on the Elk River which will lead to marginal conditions by the weekend to come. No rain is forecast until the third week in January.
Eastern – Redside fishing has been fair to good on the lower Deschutes, particularly as hatches appear in the afternoons. Steelheading is winding down as summers enter tributaries to spawn.
Crescent Lake has continued to produce fair catches of large lake trout to trollers using downriggers.
Bull trout catches have been good at Lake Billy Chinook with the best action mid-day and afternoons.